Pelvic Pain

Edited by Dr Claudia Pastides, 5th April 2019

Chronic pelvic pain is a very unpleasant problem that interferes with a woman’s life, often affecting her physical, sexual and mental health.

Pelvic pain that is severe and comes on suddenly should be discussed with a doctor urgently. This page covers pelvic pain that is of long duration and has lasted more than 6 months.


Causes

The causes of pelvic pain are varied and can be due to pain from:

  • Gynaecological problems
  • The bowels
  • The back
  • The bladder
  • Nerves in the pelvis


Risk factors

You are at an increased risk of developing chronic pelvic pain if you have medical problems that affect any of the systems mentioned above, have suffered sexual abuse1 or repeated/untreated episodes of acute pelvic inflammatory disease


Typical Symptoms

Pelvic pain is pain located over the lower part of the abdomen, under the belly-button.

Other symptoms depend on the cause of pain and include:

  • Pain that is worse during sex
  • Irregular and/or heavy periods
  • Unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Diarrhoea and/or constipation
  • A dragging sensation in the vagina
  • Recurrent urinary symptoms


Common Treatment

Treatment depends on the underlying cause and includes options such as:

  • Antibiotics
  • Over the counter or prescribed pain relievers
  • Hormonal medication
  • Sometimes specialist treatment or surgery is required


When to speak to a doctor

Chronic pelvic pain can be discussed via a digital consultation. If the GP decides you need a face to face appointment, they will discuss what steps you can take next.

It is important to speak more urgently to a doctor if:

  • Your pain comes on suddenly or is severe
  • You have a fever
  • You have pain in the upper right abdominal region or right shoulder
  • You have nausea or vomiting
  • You are losing weight
  • You get tired easily
  • You are pregnant

To speak to one of our Babylon GPs, download the app and create an account today.


Prevention

Chronic pelvic pain can’t always be prevented, however, by reducing your risks of pelvic infections you can reduce the risk of some of the causes.


More information

Pelvic Pain Support Network - https://www.pelvicpain.org.uk/about-us/


References

Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Green Top Guidelines. The initial management of chronic pelvic pain.https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/gtg_41.pdf Updated May 2012. Accessed 5/4/2019.